The Times today muses today on the PR challenge presented by Prince Andrew. Having worked for a while in PR for a major brand I would say that the only option is to tell the truth. If you don’t someone will find out and what is bad becomes disastrous. The art of apology is a tricky one to learn when pride is a dominant element. How often do we hear phrases like “I’m sorry if anyone is offended by my actions” when the proper wording should be “I’m sorry that my actions caused offence” – subtly but crucially different.
I’ve met Andrew a couple of times and found him thick and pompous. Power is different in all cases but in his case it seems to come solely from position rather than achievement. His Falklands war service may be praiseworthy – I’ve no idea. But there’s not much else on the credit side. A PR nightmare is to have to promote a brand with few or any positive values.
John Profumo, a good man brought down by a sordid liaison and mendacity, devoted the rest of his life to good works. He sought no publicity and made no attempt at public rehabilitation. I doubt that this is a model for Andrew – one cannot imagine him quietly doing good.
The “MeToo” movement has been a good thing in that it has shown how even the rich and famous can be held accountable for their actions. PR has to be based on truth but even then some brands and some people are too soiled ever to recover.